Sierra Leone: Peace at Last, For the Moment


December 16, 2005: The last 300 UN peacekeepers have left, marking the end of the four years peacekeeping effort in Sierra Leone. A ten year civil war had left over 120,000 dead and the country in ruins. Actually, there are still 250 peacekeepers remaining, but they are not there for peacekeeping, but to provide security for war crimes tribunal, whose work is not yet done. At its peak, in 2001, there were 17,500 peacekeepers. Over 75,000 gunmen have been disarmed and demobilized, and most of their warlord bosses are dead, arrested or in exile. The economy is growing, which is hard to do, since the decade of violence trashed everything. But there's no more war, for the moment. Sierra Leone, and the region around it, has been the scene of fierce tribal conflicts for centuries (as recorded in written records), and probably thousands of years (as discovered in archeological evidence.)


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